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How Do Inhibitors Work to Treat CLL?

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Published on January 16, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • CLL inhibitor treatments target and turn off specific cell signals.
  • Bcl-2 inhibitors work to regulate cell growth and death, and turn off malignant cells from living longer than they should.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia expert Michael Choi, from UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, uses a gas pedal analogy to explain in simple terms cell signaling pathways and how inhibitors work to treat CLL. Dr. Choi also describes how CLL uses the regulator protein Bcl-2 to stay alive and how stopping this can prevent malignant cells from living longer than they should.

This town meeting is sponsored by Pharmacyclics LLC and Janssen Biotech, Inc. It is produced by Patient Power in partnership with The CLL Global Research Foundation, The US Oncology Network, Compass Oncology, Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

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Transcript | How Do Inhibitors Work to Treat CLL?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:          

We have different classes of medicine. So, what does this mean, Dr. Choi? So, BTK, Bcl-2, PI3K, and fortunately more drugs in these classes developing in these inhibitors. So, what are we inhibiting? 

 

Dr. Choi:       

Yeah. I guess this time I can borrow Jeff’s analogy of the gas pedal. So, in addition to other genes, these are, I guess, proteins or kinases that I kind of think of as relay signals or nodes along kind of a signaling cascade, I guess. Other ways that cells are activated, maybe a normal B cell doesn’t turn these on until it detects the infection it wants, but the CLL cells have used these signals to keep growing to find their way to lymph modes. So, turning these off is a way to take the gas pedal away from that CLL. So, I would say one of these targets is a little bit different, Bcl-2. That’s something the CLL cell uses to stay alive. So, turning that off kind of turns off that way that CLL cells live longer than they should. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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